How Free Are We?

Hō'ike no ke Kū'oko'a


How free are we, and how do we define freedoms?  We can define freedoms as being able to worship how and where we want.  The freedom to grow our wealth and to cultivate our own economic prosperity.  Having the freedom as an individual to decide our own destiny.  These choices also bear the individual’s responsibility.  Maybe a better question is; “How are we Free?”  What is the measurement, the benchmark, of being free?  To what degree or percentage can you call yourself “free”?

Without Leaves

A tree without leaves will not grow, and that’s only what you see above the ground.  The roots of the tree find nutrients in the ground to grow and produce the leaves.  It is the leaves on the tree that absorb the sun’s rays and consumes carbon dioxide as nourishment.  An analogy could be made about freedom and the tree.  Freedom is analogous to the health of the tree.

Recently, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University did a comprehensive study on the fifty States and ranked them on their degree of freedom.  The study looked at each State’s public policies that affect individual economic and social freedoms.  It examines the state and local government laws and regulations that affect a wide range of public policies, from taxes to homeschooling, from gun control to drug policy.



Hawai’i ranked 47th overall, 46th economic, and 43 personal.

Hawaii has much room to improve. On the spending side, the state is highly fiscally centralized due to its unique statewide school system, but despite being freed from the burden of paying for schools, local governments have to raise over 80 percent of their funds through own-source taxes, the highest figure in the country. Sales, individual income, and motorvehicle-license taxes are high. Gun laws are among the worst in the country, and the marijuana regime is fairly restrictive. Hawaii has the second strictest gambling laws in the country, after Utah: The only type of gaming permitted is social. Educational regulation is excessive, with private schools having to obtain state approval to operate, significant homeschool regulations, and school attendance mandated through age 18. Smoking bans are universal in restaurants, bars, workplaces, and public places without any exceptions. On the other side of the ledger, the asset forfeiture regime is reasonable, limited same-sex domestic partnerships are recognized, and victimless crimes (excluding drug) make up just 3.5 percent of all arrests, while the drug-arrest rate is also much better than average. On labor law the state government is interventionist, with a prevailing-wage law, strict workers’ compensation requirements, mandatory short-term disability insurance, and a state occupational safety and health agency. Hawaii has not reformed eminent domain, and the state liability system is far below average. On health insurance the state is surprisingly laissez-faire, with no community rating and fewer mandates than average.

Where does your State rank?

Click on the map to find out

How International Regulations Hurt Our Island Economy

Hawai’i county council member Pete Hoffmann introduced another set of restrictive regulations to the building codes.  I’ve mentioned this Jackass, Pete Hoffmann before where he wanted to put a ban on plastic bags.  In this building code regulations, Hoffmann’s view of Socialist Engineering includes, a hurricane safe room, in-home sprinkler systems, hot water systems must be solar, and insulation to Post and Pier homes.

First, if and when a hurricane happens, the local government will force mandatory evacuations, so why do we need safe rooms?

Second, adding in-home sprinkler systems will increase the overall cost of building a home.

Third, solar hot water systems are only good where the sun shines.  That will require you to cut down trees in order to clear enough room for solar to work properly.  Windward residents have numerous cloudy and rainy days which make solar unreliable.  I use a propane hot water on demand system which is very energy efficient and very cost effective.

Fourth, insulation under post and pier homes is simply ridicules and expensive.  We live in the tropics, it’s simply not needed.  These are just some of the standards that Pete “The Jackass” Hoffmann wants to burden the homeowner with.

The regulations are based on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  While this may be appropriate for State and County office buildings, it is also appropriate for some large businesses.  However, the regulations are too restrictive for homeowners.  It puts a larger cost burden on small business owners.  Why are we adopting standards when they don’t apply to us?


PostIt Campaign

The cost burden of government regulations does not stop at the State or County level, it also include the Federal governments regulations and taxes.  It’s bad enough that the government is picking and choosing which companies will succeed and which will fail, but some companies don’t pay any taxes as a result of government intervention.  General Electric was one of those companies that posted a profit of $5.1 Billion, but paid no taxes.  How could they do this?

In a regulatory filing just a week before the Japanese disaster put a spotlight on the company’s nuclear reactor business, G.E. reported that its tax burden was 7.4 percent of its American profits, about a third of the average reported by other American multinationals. Even those figures are overstated, because they include taxes that will be paid only if the company brings its overseas profits back to the United States. With those profits still offshore, G.E. is effectively getting money back.

Meanwhile, Boeing is prevented by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from moving its 787 Dreamliner production to South Carolina.  Boeing could not get the no-strike concession from the hostile Labor Unions and decided to move its operations to South Carolina, a Right to Work state that does not require workers to be unionized.  It’s good for Boeing, it’s good for the State of South Carolina, and it’s good for Boeing’s customers.  Everyone, except for the labor unions, which are openly hostile towards businesses and the individual workers freedoms.  The unions would rather hurt Boeing, its workers and its customers for their own greed.

Freedoms are being decided by the government.  Who will succeed and who will fail.  The idea of any company, deemed by the government to be “Too Big To Fail“, hurts the freedom of the entire business community.  It puts an unfair disadvantage on other businesses competing against businesses supported by the government.  The government is using unions as political capitol.

On behalf of the small business owners in North Carolina, Mr. Geithner, you are wrong!

Geithner’s explanation of the administration’s small-business tax plan came in an exchange with first-term Rep. Renee Ellmers (R.-N.C.). Ellmers, a nurse, decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 after she became active in the grass-roots opposition to President Barack Obama’s proposed health-care reform plan in 2009.

The Obama Regime’s solution to our economic freedoms is to raise taxes on small businesses.  Then again, the Obama Regime thinks like Pete “Jackass” Hoffmann, they think we need more government making decisions in our lives.  More central planning by elected bureaucrats.  More government revenue through higher taxes.  It seems allowing the free markets to obtain more freedom isn’t in the governments idea of prosperity.  Obama said, “we cannot cut our way to prosperity“!



We can neither spend nor tax our way into prosperity either.  By doing so just takes more freedoms away.  If you keep pruning the leaves off the tree, it will eventually cease to grow.  This is just several examples of where the government has interfered with freedoms.

In the example of the tree, the states that enjoy the greatest freedom and prosperity are those that have the least amount of government regulations and taxation.  Allowing the tree the freedom to grow on its own will eventually bear the fruit of prosperity.  By clearing away the weeds and dead branches will allow the tree to continue to grow into a long and healthy freedom.

That should be the role of government in preserving and nurturing freedoms


What’s For Dinner?



Singapore Noodles with Shrimp

Local Food







8 Responses to “How Free Are We?”

  1. LVB Says:

    Hey Kini,

    Great article, and great analogy of the tree and freedom. And didn’t the great Mr. Jefferson say that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”??

    Well, we certainly have plenty of would-be tyrants doing their best to destroy our freedoms – what they clearly want is for government – not freedom – to grow. And I do believe that there are still enough true patriots among us that this next election is going to be very bloody (metaphorically, of course) for the left wing lunatics, after what they have done to us in the past few years…playing golf and spending trillions while the nation’s economy implodes, etc.

    Of course, my goal would be the immediate impeachment of Obama for his clear abuse of power in the unauthorized and illegal (not to mention very co$tly at a time of $evere financial cri$i$) military action against Libya – which is now even in excess of the War Powers Act, so no excuse there…but sadly, it’s hard to imagine the Congress having the integrity (or cajones) to follow and enforce what our Constitution actually says is the law of the land…so we will most probably have to wait until Nov. 2012.

    In any case, it’s great to see you actively writing again, and here’s a link to my newest one – still in progress, but coming along nicely…

    Peace and Mahalo, my brother.

    • Kini Says:

      Aloha LVB,
      It’s great to hear from you. You are right and that’s what I was thinking when you quoted Jefferson. I wanted people to grasp what big government leads to; the impersonal bureaucracy that cannot relate to your individual needs. That county government needs to allow local communities to be apart of the decision process, that a handful of elected officials making decisions for us, is not always in the communities best interest.

      I believe one of our council members, the jackass, is deliberately making the cost of home ownership difficult for low income families by adding all these regulations. A way to prevent undesirables from moving into the neighborhood.

  2. LVB Says:

    And by the way, those noodles and shrimp look damn tasty! 🙂

  3. Spinny Liberal Says:

    😆 Takeout? With all those magnificent dinners you showcase, I thought that would be a no no.

  4. Amanda Edwards Says:

    Hey Kini,.. Liked the video of Geitner in the hot seat, but he doesn’ get it, never will. Next,.. I went to Aarp and got a screen asking me to request to join the group.. Huh?… was the group redone and everyone has to reup, or did it crash or something?

    Next… my wife loves the noodles at the local Mongolian Buffet we go to, they’re lightly sweet, and if I had to guess had a sauce of Hoisin and sugar, maybe some chicken broth… what are these noodles like and do you know what’s in them? I do alot of cooking, my wife loves it, and her family is always asking me to do a large Chinese meal they can all come too.. I’m still learning Chinese, but seem they say, to have a knack for it…

    I like asian cuisine best, other that classic American, as it’s the most original, and most adaptive of all the world’s cuisines.. lending itself to fusion dishes much more readily than any others that I’ve dabbled in. I love American, Chinese, German Austrian, some regional British styles,.. US Southern and Tex Mex, I admit to knowing nothing about Polynesian food, never been to the 50th State.

    • Mark Edwards Says:

      Ooops…. sorry Kini, that was a mistaken post.. I couldd see why everything was messed, looks like my daughter sneaked onto my laptop again to facebook, and left herself logged in.. my bad.. and I feels so too-pid.. so the join request from Amanda Edwards was on my dauthers account,.. and she’s 12.. don’t do politics..

      You can forgive me I hope for the screw up on the accounts.. She has her own PC, and I rarely let her onto my laptop…. seems Daddy’s gonna have a word with my lil girl in the morning. No biggie, she’ll just give me big puppy eye’s and I’ll let her off with a warning…

      Daughters do that to ya.

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